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Whitman: Power economy with nuclear energy via Richmond Times-Dispatch

By: CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN
Published: October 17, 2011

Amid our national economic slump, it makes sense to look for high-potential, high-growth industries to help Americans get back to work. In Virginia, energy development and production is an industry that has long been a driving economic force. At Dominion Generation’s North Anna and Surry nuclear energy facilities alone, more than 2,230 people have steadfastly produced electricity for this state while developing life-long careers.

The Dominion plants — like all 104 nuclear energy facilities spread across the country — are an enduring economic success story at a time when those are hard to find. Across the land, nearly 60,000 Americans are employed at nuclear energy facilities, often at salaries that exceed what is otherwise available in their surrounding communities.

Nuclear energy’s support of state and local economies will be my primary focus this week at Gov. Bob McDonnell’s annual energy conference here in Richmond. In my role as co-chair of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, I have seen firsthand the benefits that communities realize — $430 million in economic activity generated by a typical nuclear energy facility each year. In Virginia, the industry’s impact is dramatic. More than $1.25 billion of materials, services and fuel were procured in Virginia from more than 1,050 companies in 2009, the most recent year for which data is available.

If we are to continue to enjoy both reliable electricity production and the economic benefits of nuclear energy facilities, we have to maintain our confidence in nuclear energy safety. The events at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactors earlier this year, coupled with the earthquake that shook the East Coast, underscore the importance of anticipating every conceivable challenge to plant safety and adding layer upon layer of protection against them.

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  1. yukimiyamotodepaul says

    Another example of economic interests overrides people’s (and environmental) health. These two should not be juxtaposed either/or, but we can certainly develop alternative energy industry that will secure (if not more) as many employment as nuclear industry.



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